Monday 7 March 2011
Symonds Founders Reserve Cider
As I have nearly exhausted Sainsbury's range of ciders I took a trip to Asda to see what they had. A few Sheppy's to try, a Westons or two...well, one Westons actually. And this bottle from Symonds - who (I am afraid to admit) I have not come across before.
"Est. 1727" means that Symonds are an old producer. In fact they hail from Hereford and call themselves "Cider Pressers". Does that mean that they don't ferment the juice? I digress. Its found in a Magners shape bottle, which is curious. No reason it is curious, other than Bulmers (who also hail from Hereford) also use these bottles. Hey, everyone uses similar bottles... Gaymers and Sheppy's bottles look remarkably similar to each other too.
OK, I have to say that I am either ignorant, or just a bit dim. Symonds are/were the producers of 'Scrumpy Jack'... now I have heard of that one. Taken over in 1989 by... go on, have a guess. Bulmers. See, there is a dectective Poirot waiting to burst out! Although I now suspect, before I have even tried it, that many of my cider drinking compatriots have already condemned it to the bin of 'non real cider', I am determined to keep an open mind; after all, there is not a single ice cube mentioned on the label.
What I have to say though is that the first thing that hit me was a weird aroma. Not fruit. Not cider. I would be loathed to say its a chemical smell, but its odd. Its also high carbonation too, and boy is it sweet. There is a bit of tannin there too, but the sweetness grabs it by the throat and throws it into the background (hey, was that an Oz Clarke moment of writing?).
Once again, as with most of the ciders that are aimed at being a mass comodity, it is a fairly safe flavour. There is not much wrong with it (apart from the smell, fizz and sweetness). But then, fizz and sweetness are probably what it is all about and I suspect is what the 'mass' market expects from cider.
In conclusion, I drank it all. It was not the finest cider by stretch. Its score of 50 is probably a little unfair to Magners which scored 49.